Defense Budget

Ask CFR Experts

Why canít the United States cut military spending?

The United States has cut defense spending in the past, and it is doing so again today. In 1989, for example, the Defense Department spent $295 billion; seven years later it spent $253 billion, or about 14 percent less in nominal dollars. When inflation is taken into account, defense spending dropped by more than 25 percent during the 1990s. U.S. defense spending will likely follow a similar trajectory over the next decade with the Afghanistan war ending and pressure mounting to cut government spending.

Read full answer

See more in United States; Defense Budget

Transcript

U.S. Defense Spending

Speakers: Lieutenant General David Barno (Retired), Barry M. Blechman, and Dov S. Zakheim
Presider: Gordon Adams

Experts analyze how changes in defense spending would affect U.S. military strategy.

See more in United States; Defense Budget

Must Read

CRS: The American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012: Modifications to the Budget Enforcement Procedures in the Budget Control Act

Author: Bill Heniff Jr.

"The BCA established an automatic process to reduce spending, partially entailing a sequester of budgetary resources, if Congress did not pass and the President did not sign, by January 15, 2012, legislation reducing the deficit by $1.2 trillion over the FY2012-FY2021 period. No such legislation was enacted by the deadline. Therefore, the automatic spending reduction process was triggered."

See more in United States; Defense Budget

Article

Offensive Maneuver

Author: Micah Zenko
Foreign Policy

Micah Zenko says, "Like Dick Cheney 21 years ago, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta has engaged in an exhaustive effort to avoid both sequestration and any further reductions in the Pentagon's budget. The distinction between Panetta and his predecessors, however, is in the tactics he has employed to protect his bureaucratic turf."

See more in Defense Budget; Congresses, Parliaments, National Legislatures; United States

Must Read Author: Scott Rasmussen

The U.S. defense budget has grown to inordinate levels, and the American public isn't happy about it. Scott Rasmussen sets out proposals on how to create a leaner military spending strategy that is more efficient and satisfies the desires of the voters.

See more in United States; Defense Budget

Foreign Affairs Article

Obama's New Global Posture

Authors: Michèle Flournoy and Janine Davidson

Tough economic times are often met in Washington with calls for retrenchment. But for decades, write two former top Pentagon officials, long-term forward deployments of U.S. forces and robust alliances have guaranteed stability and uninterrupted trade, the very conditions the United States needs for economic prosperity. The Obama administration gets it.

See more in United States; Defense Budget

Video
Transition 2012

Transition 2012

Video Brief: Defense

Speaker: Richard K. Betts

The winner of the 2012 U.S. presidential election will have to determine the scope of defense policy ambitions under strong pressure to restore domestic economic solvency, which will "overshadow" policy questions, says CFR's Richard K. Betts.

See more in Defense Budget; United States